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The top tech acquisitions of 2014

Apple's purchase of Beats by Dr Dre is the latest in what has been an active first half of the year for tech acquisitions. We outline the most significant.

Apple's $3 billion purchase of Dr. Dre's Beats Electronics tops an impressive list of tech mergers and acquisitions that have happened so far this year.

It might have been Apple's most expensive shopping spree to date, but that price tag is small-fry compared to some of the others that have preceded it, a trend that has prompted some to warn of a tech bubble, reminiscent of the dot.com crash at the turn of the century.

Here's our rundown of the most significant tech acquisitions of 2014 so far...

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Facebook/WhatsApp

$19bn

Perhaps the silliest price tag on this list, Facebook's acquisition of the popular messaging service WhatsApp in February was its biggest so far (making its $1 billion purchase of Instagram in 2012 look tiny). Some have queried whether Facebook overspent, but the company certainly seems unstoppable in its quest to take over the social internet.

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Facebook/Oculus

$2bn

Not content with the purchase of WhatsApp, Facebook decided its next venture should be the virtual reality gaming company Oculus, whose headset, the Oculus Rift, could transform the gaming industry and how we interact with the world around us. It's unclear how Facebook, which bought the company in March, intends to use the technology, but in terms of future-proofing, many have said this was a strong move.

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Google/Nest Labs

$3.2bn

You might wonder why a big company such as Google would choose to buy a relatively unknown one such as Nest Labs, which specialises in 'smart' thermostats and a smoke alarm called the Nest Protect.

But the deal completed in January, and 'smart' is exactly why Google is interested. Both Nest's thermostat and the Nest Protect are pioneering products in 'the internet of things' - an idea that the things around us can be connected and controlled from a central point, such as your smartphone.

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Lenovo/Motorola

$2.91bn

Having been bought by Google in 2011 for $12.5 billion, Lenovo's acquision of mobile handset company Motorola in January seems like a bum deal. However, it presents Lenovo, which has previously focused on laptops and PCs, with an opportunity to gain a step up in the highly competitive smartphone market.

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Google/DeepMind

$500m

DeepMind is a UK-based company whose mission is to develop algorithms that make computers think more like humans. A niche market perhaps, but in light of the technology Google wants to create - its self-driving car, for example (pictured) - DeepMind was a very useful purchase indeed.

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Comcast/Time Warner

$45.2bn

Comcast is already the biggest mass media and communications company in the world by revenue, and the largest cable and home internet service supplier in the US. If the planned deal with Time Warner, which was announced in February, is approved, it would become even bigger. This is grounds enough for some, including streaming service Netflix, to object based purely on anti-competitiveness worries.

However, in a statement issued by Comcast's executive vice president David Cohen in February, the company maintains that the merger 'will create a leading technology and innovation company'.

Pictured: Comcast's corporate headquarters in Philidelphia

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